The remarkable life of Martina Navratilova is to be celebrated in a documentary, to be produced by Reese Witherspoon. The American actresses' Hello Sunshine production company will develop its first feature-length documentary about the Czech tennis legend, 61. Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Suzanne Gilbert will also assist with the film.
The programme, to be told through Greenwald's eyes as a gay child coming of age in Florida during Ronald Reagan's presidency, will focus on Navratilova as a pioneer of social justice. The player was Greenwald's childhood hero and the film will examine how people discover and choose role models as well as what people experience when they feel isolated, judged or cast aside by society.
"The issues raised by Martina’s legacy resonate now more than ever," Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming for Hello Sunshine, said. "It’s so important to tell her story to new generations of young people who may not be aware of the role she played in shaping expectations around female identity and LGBT equality."
Navratilova, a committed advocate for LGBT rights, is celebrated as one of the best tennis players of all time, winning 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 41 Grand Slam doubles crowns.
"As monumental as Martina's on-court achievements were, they pale in comparison to her role as a pioneer and trailblazer on feminism, women's athletics, equality for gay and lesbians across the planet, transgender visibility, immigrant rights, and the right of political dissent," Greenwald added. "I’m excited to be partnering with Reese and Hello Sunshine to explore her truly enduring legacy, her remarkable courage inspiring millions."
Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine two years ago with the aim of promoting female authorship and storytelling and the documentary will also include contributions from fans of Navratilova, demonstrating her impact on social and political issues and initiatives.
The documentary follows another major figure in the sport being celebrated on film, with Serena Williams the subject of a five-part series 'Being Serena', currently airing on HBO.